BELFAST IRELAND – The Rainbow Rehoming Centre is now facing criticism after posting pictures on Friday of cat Leah with terrible injuries to its ears caused by an animal abuser.
The Belfast Telegraph was so completely disgusted that it offered a $1,500 reward for information leading to the perpetrator’s arrest.
The newspaper’s gesture won widespread support and was shared several times on social media.
The Animal Rights Action Network also offered a $3,700 reward as it felt it was “imperative that any community faced with a sadistic and violent act like this take measures to find the culprits and bring them to justice”.
However, the centre has now distanced itself and deleted the original post after the family who handed the cat in said that the injuries were due to an infection, not cruelty.
The original post stated: “Today we received a phone call from a concerned member of the public about a stray cat that had been hanging about for quite some time. We are appealing for people in the area to help with any information.
“She was found in the Ballynamore Road The Cross Derry/Londonderry area with very badly injured ears along with her two surviving kittens. We have named her Leah and she is receiving the necessary treatment. Any information please contact us.”
In a separate post on Facebook, the charity stated: “The cat’s ears were like this when the cat was found. The left ear had the rest of the ear hanging off by a thread which was dead tissue and fell off when being cleaned.”
However, the family who handed the cat into the centre have said that the posts on the Rainbow Rehoming Centre website were very “misleading” and called on the centre to explain what happened.
A woman, who asked that she not to be named, said that her elderly and blind father had been feeding the stray cat for several months.
His daughter explained that they realized there was a problem with her ears but they simply were unable to pay the veterinary fees.
They were also concerned that their father would not be able to continue looking after her due to his ill-health and so they contacted Rainbow Rehoming Centre.
The centre agreed to take the cat in return for just a small donation. The family handed the cat in on Thursday and she was taken for emergency veterinary treatment. The woman went on to add: “This has been very stressful for my father and the family.
“We would like the charity to clarify the issue publicly. She did not look like that when I handed her over.
“Those photos are from after treatment.”
In a post on Facebook made on Saturday, the charity said: “Leah is currently receiving the treatment needed for her ears and both Leah and her kittens are doing extremely well.
“Sadly the treatment resulted in the removal of the remainder of her ears.
“We have consulted with our vets and there is no evidence that animal cruelty was involved. We would like to thank those in the Ballynamore area that cared for both Leah and her kittens which resulted in Leah receiving the treatment she needed.”
The Belfast Telegraph then contacted the Rainbow Rehoming Centre last night but no one was available to comment on how the misunderstanding had occurred.